School Streets scheme improves air quality and road safety for children

Enfield Council has completed a trial of 12 School Streets at primary schools and has now made them permanent to improve road safety for children.

School Streets are temporary road closures outside of school gates at pick up and drop off times which remove motor traffic from the area.

During the trial, they were manually operated by the school’s staff and parents who volunteered to marshal the schemes and keep students safe from traffic. Now that they have been made permanent, the Council will also be introducing cameras to help enforce the School Streets road closures.

School Streets stay open to pedestrians, cyclists and residents of the street who have an exemption.

The trial involved a six-month period of statutory consultation from September 2020 where the Council gathered views from residents and parents and found 66% of people who took part said they wanted the scheme to remain.

The closures make it safer for Enfield primary school pupils to travel to school by active travel such as walking, cycling and scooting.

The scheme also reduces emissions from motor vehicles near the school gate, keeping the air clean for the next generation, which is a topic being discussed at this week’s Conference of the Parties (COP26) climate summit in Glasgow.

Cllr Ian Barnes, Deputy Leader of Enfield Council, visited Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy in Ponders End on 20 October to find out more about the positive impact their School Street has had for their students and school community.

Cllr Barnes spoke to the headteacher, parents and children who have benefitted from the School Streets scheme, while seeing the impact it has made as children walked to school with their parents at the beginning of the school day.

He said: “The safety of children travelling to and from school is of paramount importance to Enfield Council.

“As world leaders meet for the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, we continue to fight climate change in our borough, while making the school gates safer and less polluted for our children.

“Another batch of School Streets will be announced before the end of this year, we’ll be using funding from camera fines from across the borough to help deliver these.

“In Enfield we are taking ambitious action now by pushing forward with our Climate Action Plan objectives, with headline targets to be a carbon neutral organisation by 2030 and for the borough to be carbon neutral by 2040.”

Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy has seen levels of nitrogen monoxide fall by 34% at the school gate and nitrogen dioxide by 23% since the implementation of their School Streets scheme.

Matt Clifford, Headteacher at Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy School, said: “My message to other schools thinking of starting a School Streets scheme is to 100 percent do it. The initial worry we had about parent resistance and manning the barriers actually wasn’t a problem and the change has literally added benefit to the whole school community and we’re a happier, healthier school for it.”

The scheme has been a major success with a 200% increase in children cycling to school, a 14% increase in walking and a 29% fall in the number of students being dropped off to school by car.

Click here to watch Cllr Ian Barnes' visit to Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy on our YouTube channel

The now permanent 12 School Streets are in addition to the two School Streets that were introduced in February 2020, at Oakthorpe Primary in Palmers Green and St Monica’s Catholic Primary in Southgate.

The 12 School Streets being made permanent are: Bush Hill Park Primary School, Chase Side Primary School, De Bohun Primary School, George Spicer Primary School, Hazelbury Primary School, Keys Meadow Primary School, Kingfisher Hall Primary Academy, Lavender Primary School, Meridian Angel Primary School, Raynham Primary School, St. Paul's C of E Primary School and Worcesters Primary School. Some schools, including Bush Hill Park Primary School, will see adjustments to the schemes to make sure they are maximising the benefits.

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